Jung’s concept of psychic reality impressed me profoundly from the first and became central to my entire experience.
If all our knowledge consists of the stuff of the psyche which, because it alone is immediate, is superlatively real (Jung, 1934, C. W., 8, p. 353); if far from being a material world, this is a psychic world’ (Jung, 1933, C. W., 8, p. 384); and if ‘we are steeped in a world created by our own psyche’ (Jung, 1933, C. W., 8, p. 384), then here, I thought, was the to understanding and to life.
The proof is in the facts, was Jung’s contention; he does not have to believe because he knows; this knowledge is based on experience and empirical findings.
That this was true became ‘superlatively real’ to me when reading the account of the amazing archaeological expedition into his own depth in search of modern man’s hero myth (Seminar
It was a stirring experience to be taken back to a time before the concepts we are using were formulated, and to the subterranean place where the ‘facts’ of the collective psyche were
Throwing open his immense workshop in these seminars, Jung shows us how he found his tools, forged them and used them, and to what end. I felt I was allowed in on analytical psychology in the making, as he points out the corU1ection between his life, his personal psychology, and his vision.
Winding his way back and forth from inner to outer experience and event, we see how at each turn there is a dream followed by an act of obedience to the dictum of his psyche.
Acting on the dream that had taken him to the ‘lower cellars’, those below Freud’s cellar, and faced with the necessity to sacrifice the hero, he sent his libido down vertically.
Through the resulting fantasy he came upon the technique of creative introversion, later called active imagination.
As he was writing the record of this material for his own investigation, he had to cope with misleading insinuations of unknown origin.
Instead of eliminating the annoyance through repression of the irritating voice which kept repeating that his writing was art, he entered into communication with the phenomenon, interested to find something living within him that he did not know was there.
Thus he discovered the anima.
Later he interpreted the Psychology of the Unconscious (1912) on the subjective level, using it as a kind of personal anamnesis.
Miss Miller then became a representation of his anima at that stage of his .development, carrying his inferior function.
In this thought we have the nucleus of the type theory.
In the 1925 Notes we are also told the story of the ‘making’ of this book, its origin, and the preceding studies of mythology used in it.
Its integration as a part of his personal psychology brought Jung to the question of his own and modern man’s individual myth, to be explored from here on.
I believe Jung’s myth is the realization of his creative urge to follow each new fact to its origin in the roots of his own psyche, and to draw from there the knowledge he formulated and lived as a new vision of the human soul.
My personal experience with Jung in relation to psychic reality came much later.
The year was 1955, in the fall.
We were stepping from the living-room where tea had been served into the garden of 228 Seestrasse in Kusnacht.
Ten students from the Institute had been delegated to celebrate with Jung the planting of a Gingko Biloba tree given to him for his eightieth birthday.
We stood in a semicircle by the place chosen for the tree while two gardeners started digging the hole.
Between them they fell into an alternating rhythm, accentuated by the spades breaking up the earth and the thud of throwing it out.
Jung was giving directions about the width and breadth of the hole, concerned that the roots should get enough space.
As I looked at him in the outdoor light of the afternoon, he suddenly seemed less sturdy, his frame less powerful-different than in his study at my recent visit, or even a few minutes ago at tea.
He looked all of his eighty years and very frail, with the frailty of old age.
With the shock of this realization, a sinister crescendo seemed to get into the rhythm of spades going in and earth thumping down.
Irrationally, it seemed that this hole was not for planting a tree, that these were not gardeners, they were grave-diggers.
The feeling about death was so strong that the scene became unbearable, and I stood in utter helplessness, wishing and praying for it all to stop.
Suddenly I heard Jung saying: ‘This has nothing to do with death.
They are planting new life.’ He was looking straight in front of him, addressing no one.
Having my unspoken thought picked out of my head and answered was so startling that the irrational panic turned into a numinous experience. ~Renee Brand, Four Contacts with Jung, Pages 231-234